Skip to main content
February 16, 2019

Tipping point in 2017 polls

2017 polls
2017 polls

Has anger against plunder of public resources reached the tipping point? Is there a large number of critical citizens who are tired of such theft? Are agents of change willing to demand accountability in Nairobi, in the 47 counties, 290 constituencies, and in the 1,450 county assembly wards?

The tipping point is not a new concept, but for this purpose, it is derived from 'The Tipping Point' by Malcom Gladwell. The book explores how "little things can make a difference".

Conscientious decisions, if infectious, can also be the 'tipping point'. Moments of change have 'tipping points'. The Mau Mau Rebellion, especially the emergency years from 1952, was the tipping point in the struggle for Independence.

The arrest of advocates of multipartyism in 1991 by the Moi regime was the tipping point in the Second Liberation. Kanu dictatorship was fading, thanks to mass resolve for change. The resolve had attracted the usually conservative owners of endangered capital such as Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba. Iconic liberators Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, and Raila Odinga won new allies for democracy.

President Moi's imposition of Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor in the 2002 general election was the tipping point in the rejection of Kanu's 40-year-old stranglehold on power. Kanu rebels and oppositionists coalesced in Narc, adding momentum to the change-wagon.

The Arab Spring gained traction in Egypt in 2011, through the resolve of a harassed graduate hawker. The hustler's action persuaded others to understand time was ripe for change. The Hosni Mubarak regime was on its way out: The 'tipping point' had arrived.

The 'tipping point', Gladwell says, is that "magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviour cross a threshold, tip and spread like wildfire".

The International Criminal Court was the tipping point in the 2013 general election. The Hague, where Jubilee presidential aspirant Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy William Ruto were charged with crimes against humanity following 2007 post-election violence, was the redline.

The fear of The Hague was so strong, it distorted electoral issues. The 2013 election was framed as the lifeline for the Jubilee Alliance ticket holders— UhuRuto. The Kikuyu and the Kalenjin were galvanised around fear to defend their sons against the unknown.

Enemies were manufactured where justice for victims of 2007 post-election violence was the urgent concern. Misinformation blurred the possibility of informed choices.

The "choices have consequences" warning by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, was not interrogated. The Press did not clarify matters because they did not want to be blamed for another post-election violence. Pacifism was, and still remains, the dominant policy of convenience. The Press - the Public Watchdog - absconded.

The national interest was subverted to safeguard the whims of two individuals. Rigging was not about manipulation of ballot papers or the voter register. Mental rigging of electoral choices defined which way the vote would go.

Conscience was dead. The dead turned out to vote to actuate the fallacy of election tenderpreneur Mutahi Ngunyi of the National Youth Service scandal.

Ngunyi, the scandalised opinion hawker, has since resurfaced to claim the 'Tyranny of Numbers is dead'. The 'tyranny' was a mental construct to legitimise the inclusion of ghost voters in the electoral roll to secure vested interests.

Mass registration of voters, which began on Monday, should provide the tipping point in the continuing search for leaders of integrity to reconstruct a divided country. Numbers can be galvanised to kill impunity and reclaim nationhood.

The August poll should be a vote of no confidence or otherwise in lords of corruption, whoever and wherever they are. It should be a deliberate effort to right the wrongs against the electorate.

Consider this: "Mental slavery is the worst form of slavery. It gives you the illusion of freedom, makes you trust, love and defend your oppressor while making an enemy of those who are trying to free or open your eyes," Miss Fiyah.

Poll of the day